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As Pride Month comes to a close, the LGBTQ+ community finds a way to connect with the community

PMG PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - In vehicles adorned with rainbow flags, colorful paint and creative designs, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies celebrated Pride Month on Friday evening with a car parade through Newberg.

In vehicles adorned with rainbow flags, colorful paint and creative designs, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies celebrated Pride Month on Friday evening with a car parade through Newberg. After honking their horns and making their presence felt, they continued the Wine Country Pride celebration on Saturday with a virtual event hosted by Remy Wines.

The car parade was open to the public and had plenty of safety measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Saturday's video presentation featured a variety of performances and speeches and was livestreamed for the community to enjoy.

PFLAG Newberg — a local LGBTQ+ advocacy organization — hosted the event with help from Remy Wines, Pollinate Farms and Kristen Stoller of Chehalem Dance Academy. Sara Linnertz, one of the between 30 and 40 members of PFLAG Newberg, said the idea for a Pride celebration had been in the works since before the pandemic.

"The Newberg Pride car parade was something that PFLAG Newberg wanted to do before COVID-19 changed everything," Linnertz said. "During the early part of the pandemic we weren't sure we'd be able to do anything, but after watching some other groups like Newberg High School be able to do really cool car parades, our organization thought we should do something similar."

Parade attendees drove their cars or watched from the sidewalk from a safe social distance. PFLAG spread the word about the car parade and livestreamed performances through social media in the lead-up to last weekend.

"We wanted people to feel like they can drive their car in the parade or spectate along the parade route," Linnertz said. "People have been encouraged to decorate their vehicles and we can honk along the way. We are following all the guidelines the state has put out to keep people safe and in their cars.

"People could drive as individuals or represent a group. For example, the Newberg High School Gay-Straight Alliance club was part of it and the Newberg School District employees did as well. Plenty of people in the community were supportive of this effort."

PFLAG is a national organization that advocates for and provides a space for dialogue to those in the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. The local chapter started in 2019 and is growing fast. PFLAG is well-connected in the business community locally, particularly Pollinate Farms, Chehalem Valley Dance Academy and Remy Wines.

The livestreamed event at Remy had a small group of socially distant attendees wearing masks, but the lion's share of viewers were online and providing their support from home or wherever they could watch. The focus of that event, Linnertz said, was to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ issues, display some talents and let the community know about PFLAG as an organization.

"We wanted to have the entire community in Yamhill County feel like they're part of the celebration, so the livestream was great for all those who wanted to tune in," Linnertz said. "It's our first annual Wine Country Pride event and everybody who has been involved is really excited about future years. We want to bring together all the communities in Yamhill County around these events and celebrate our pride."


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